Whether we are children or just grown-up kids at heart, everyone loves to have fun! Of course, exactly the same mentality applies to disabled children, find out this wheelchair activities for kids.
With summer hot on our heels and well and truly on its way, here are five of our favourite and most fabulous activity ideas that you could do with your disabled child. There are indoor and outdoor options in this guide, meaning that a change in weather is no excuse not to have a good time, and no wheelchair users are at risk of getting stuck in the mud, either!
The changing seasons that we are so fortunate to experience in Europe bring about a whole palette of different wheelchair activities for kids: Spring allows for gardening and playing outside. Summer gives you beach activities and fun in the sun. Fall is enjoyable for everyone with baking or playing in leaves. Winter keeps us inside with board games and crafts, with the occasional snow adventure.
For more information on our suggested activities, please read on!
1. Make some homemade play dough
Create your own art attack, at home! And don’t be afraid to get messy! Many recipes for homemade play dough can be found online. Most are plain, but they can be changed through the addition of food colouring (and marbled or tie-dye play dough looks particularly cool, and can be of great interest to many children, disabled or not!). You can think of ways to put a seasonal twist on this activity by using colours or mix-ins that coordinate with your holiday activities: why not try pumpkin orange dough for Halloween, for example? Here is a good recipe that is easy to adapt. After you are done playing with the dough, you can turn it into Oobleck by adding water. Kids love the way this feels, but it does make a bit of a mess! You know the gunge and gunk you see on kid’s television programmes? Yep, you may well have that in your living room if you take this step!
2. Create some art with natural seasonal materials
Stuck inside on a wet day? Art is always a great activity that provides plenty of fun with some valuable education thrown in. When the weather is nice, though, it might be worth taking an accessible walk and looking for natural resources that you can use to help you prepare of your next creative rainy day. Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to look for flowers you can press or dry to use in projects such as this bookmark craft for kids. You could also try collecting sand at the beach to use for sand art (and collecting different sand from different holiday destinations is a great way to create some art that holds some special memories, too). In Autumn, you can collect leaves to make crafts and have fun teaching your child about crunchy and crispy textures. Leaves are very versatile and can be used in many different ways. Here’s an article on 15 different crafts you can make with leaves.
3. Play some adapted sport
Disability does not mean not interested in sport and games! If it’s a nice day, think about how you could adapt an active game for your disabled child. Get a group of parents and children together in your local yard or park, and organise an accessible game of rounders, for example. Maybe your wheelchair using child bats the ball and has a ‘runner’ to run around the posts for them, or perhaps they are amazing at catching or throwing, so can bowl the ball or be stationed at a post ready to catch a batter out on the opposing team. Playing adapted versions of well-loved games with your child from a young age might also really encourage them to play games such as wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis or even wheelchair rugby when they are a little older.
4. Go on an excursion
What exciting destinations are near enough for you to travel to? Choose your destination according to the weather. When temperatures are nice, take a day trip to an outdoor historical site, or a local farm. Some farms may offer special dairy and sheep tours. Outdoor theater shows are another enjoyable activity when the weather is right. Colder months may be better for visiting indoor sites, such as museums, science centres, or local businesses and factories that allow for tours. Always call ahead to find out how accessible the sites will be, and if your wheelchair user will be able to see most of the attractions. If you require a travel wheelchair for going on excursions, that can fold up into a car boot for ease of getting around, have a look at this post for inspiration.
5. Make an outside fort that has a secret path.
Children love to make secret hideouts and secret paths. Find an accessible area of your yard or nearby park or terrace, and provide whatever materials your child might need for constructing a play area. Cardboard, branches, chairs, and blankets can all be used. If it’s winter, you could build up a wall of snow and dig out a secret path. Depending on your child’s mobility, you may have to help them set up the fort and then allow them to play inside it. If it’s fall, and you have to rake your backyard leaves anyway, you can use them to make a maze (a wheelchair accessible one, of course!) that is as simple or tricky as you want. The only consideration would be how difficult it is to maneuver over your ground. Not only is it fun to build an outside fort, but it’s also a good exercise for both the body and the mind, and it’s something that you can accomplish together, as a team. Don’t forget to take photos of your fun, adventurous day, for you and your child to look back on with warmth and smiles in years to come.
Besides these unique activities, there are many common wheelchair activities for kids that you can adapt for the season. Any seated art project can be changed to use seasonal colors or materials. Simple board games, such as checkers, can have the pieces replaced by acorns and corn kernels, sea glass or seashells. Cooking activities can have a theme by using recipes that include seasonal produce or are specific to holidays, and there’s always plenty of leaves, flowers and wildlife to get acquainted with in a park near you – there might even be accessible exploration trails you could embark on together!
So, whatever the weather, now you know this wheelchair activities for kids, so go out and have some family fun with your child. Being a wheelchair user is no reason for them to miss out on the traditions and activities we all love to do, no matter what time of year!